New Jersey Governor Chris Christie promised renowned Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel that he would be the biggest friend Israel has ever had if he occupies the White House in 2017, NJ Politicker reported Wednesday.
Christie has not formally announced a White House bid, but he has made numerous appearances in New Hampshire, and has made a series of speeches to highlight his policy ideas.
On Wednesday, Christie met with Wiesel, in what was described as seeking counsel from Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, for 90 minutes at his Manhattan office. According to the report, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach arranged the meeting between the soulful world Jewish presence and the outspoken governor from New Jersey.
Christie reportedly told Wiesel, “You gave me one of the great privileges of my life,” and promised him that he would be the biggest friend in the White House Israel ever had because Israel shares America’s core values.
“People in positions of power should seek out wisdom,” Boteach was quoted as saying to the online publication. “Candidates should go to the great giants of the age, and Elie Wiesel is one of the three or four most respected human beings in the world.”
The meeting with Wiesel was apparently arranged ahead of Christie’s speech at Boteach’s Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala, which will include among others: Elie Wiesel, Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.
“We’re honored to host Governor Christie as a speaker at This World Gala for the second year in a row,” Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, founder and co-host of the dinner, said in a statement last week.
“While our organization’s focus is on advocacy of Jewish values, the existential threat presented by Iran has created an urgency for the defense of Israel. During this time of need, there are few leaders in the statehouses of America who can compare to Governor Christie’s dedication to the state of Israel. Governor Christie selected the Gala as the platform for a major foreign policy address last year – we look forward to what he has to share with our attendees and honored guests this year.”
The potential Republican presidential candidate on Monday criticized President Obama’s handling of nuclear talks with Iran, during a broad foreign policy speech in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
“With Iran, the President’s eagerness for a deal on their nuclear program has him ready to accept a bad deal,” Christie said, as he called the existing framework “flimsy.”
Christie also blasted the administration’s treatment of Israel. “Over the last few years this administration has taken our Israeli partners for granted and it is shameful how the president has treated them,” he said.
“Our commitment to Israel must be absolute. Israel is a beacon of freedom in a sea of autocracy and our friendship should be unshakeable. Israel and its people must be supported by the United States and the American president – its existence and its security is non-negotiable, and the Iranians and others who think otherwise must be reminded by America of that simple fact,” Christie declared.